|GNOME: 'staring into the abyss'|
|By Thom Holwerda on 2012-07-27 12:41:52|
|Honest question. Do you think the GNOME project is as healthy today as it was, say, 4 years ago? Benjamin Otte explains that no, it isn't. GNOME lacks developers, goals, mindshare and users. The situation as he describes it, is a lot more dire than I personally thought.|
|It deserves to die, the sooner te better.|
|By tomz on 2012-07-27 14:29:32|
It isn't just the desktop. For a long time you couldn't enter bluetooth custom PINs, they wanted an internal in-code database based on device type or id. Network Manager is worse. It managed to remember several dozen APs on my drive to work but took over a minute to find the AP at my desk. And this - no refresh button - is intentional. You ned to turn wireless off then on. Yes, this is their idea of user friendly. The panel was dropped and replaced with nothing though with ridiculous effort you can get back a half-functioning one and some applets. Notifications became either annoyingly intrusive or useless. |
They wanted it to be locked down, ugly, and difficult and basically told anyone who wanted to make it easier or fix things to go away. So they did. They promised to make things a bit better in the release 2 years from now but still not really address the problems.
In one sense it is like the iPad/iOS. If you find the jail is comfortable and has everything you want, it works well. Probably for 80%. The moment you want to think different, you can't use it. At all. Like to play with some serial devices, well maybe you can turn the headset into an acoustic coupler modem, but it is easier to just move to something better. Gnome 3 and much of its progeny are similar - using gconf shouldn't be necessary, nor installing dozens of packages. I've switched to Xfce.
|- Score: 12|
|RE: Works for Unity too|
|By spudley99 on 2012-07-27 14:44:35|
Cannot stand either GNOME 3 or Unity, and frankly its pushing me to more obscure distros that function out of the box… |
Well, there's always KDE... you don't really need to go too obscure with your desktop system.
They actually (eventually) did a fairly decent job with the transition to KDE4.
Linux Mint KDE edition is a really nice OS.
Edited 2012-07-27 14:45 UTC
|- Score: 4|
|Put in context|
|By jessesmith on 2012-07-27 15:08:25|
While I do agree with the author that GNOME is becoming more and more just another Red Hat project (for better or worse) I think it's important to put his statements in context. Let's look at some of the other posts he's put up recently... |
"Google is killing free software"
"Why Fedora is awesome: Fedora is awesome, because it not only breaks gdb and strace in the default install, it even advertises it as a feature. I wonder if this is enough as a proof that Fedora security people have no clue about security?"
"Why SELinux is not awesome"
"self-congratulating echo chamber: I won’t be attending GUADEC this year. I don’t feel like I would be productive in the current state of things."
The author is obviously just writing a series of troll mini-blogs to get people stirred up. People probably shouldn't take him seriously.
|- Score: 3|
|Gnome 3 is a nonsense|
|By NewTron on 2012-07-27 15:20:35|
Despite of using several desktop UI (mainly Windows, Mac Os X and diferents linux GUI's) the only one that can rival with the best I know (Mac Os Classic) was Gnome 2.x. In fact trying to work whith Gnome 3 I ended working with the text terminal, been the most "anty-CLI" guy since the introduction of the original Macintosh. |
Gnome 3 is a nonsense. KDE didn't count as a desktop be cause only is a bad web page.
|- Score: 1|
|Comment by jaypee|
|By jaypee on 2012-07-27 15:38:45|
|I tried repeatedly to like Gnome3 but, I hate it. I've used extension after extension but, in the end, I ended up back at Unity, which I hate less (and I find at least usable). Since I'm not a KDE fan either, I am hoping for Linux Mint to save the day with Cinnamon.|
|- Score: 4|
|By Dr.Mabuse on 2012-07-27 15:48:06|
Could the Android GUI eventually find it's way onto a Linux distribution? With a little imagination, it could be adapted for PC mouse/keyboard usage. A quick search on this subject matter doesn't reveal much. |
(Sidenote: It seems a lot people want to run Linux GUIs on Android devices, which is a little odd ... To me anyway.)
I'm sure there would be many technical and philosophical hurdles to over-come (see all the issues just getting kernel level changes back into Linux), but it could provide a standard environment for developers to target.
I only think about this from time to time, because of all the fragmentation on the Linux Desktop. Some environments are nice to use (Linux Mint is decent) but Ubuntu lost me with Unity.
If we're going for the big-button touch look, then give me the real McCoy!
|- Score: 2|
|RE: gnome3 and unity.|
|By hhas on 2012-07-27 15:53:34|
> But it’s a step in the wrong direction for open source desktops. |
And what exactly should constitute an 'open source desktop'? I last used Gnome 2 six months ago, and it's barely changed from the days when it was still known as 'Mac OS 7.1' - i.e. 20 year-old GUI idioms, barely changed over all those years. (Still not as bad as its CLI, mind you, which is mired in 1970s-era design, or persistent storage, which is 1950s.)
The fundamental failing of all the mainstream Linux DEs - not just the GUI shells but the apps that run on them too - is that they all play to the competition's - i.e. MS and Apple - strengths when instead they ought to be playing to their own - i.e. *nix - strengths. Everyone involved in creating the first Linux desktops instantly forgot everything they ever knew about Unix Philosophy: keep everything small, simple, highly modular, endlessly composable, agile, adaptable. 
Instead, they built up these huge, grand palaces, fine testaments to their own mastery of sophistication and complexity, but insanely time-consuming and expensive to construct and maintain, and horribly bad at adapting to changing circumstances and requirements.
FWIW, the Linux GUI folks aren't the only ones to fall into this trap - web framework developers are also notorious for it, as is C++ where the answer to every question on how to improve it is invariably 'add another kitchen sink'.
The problem is this: the likes of Apple and Microsoft, who possess sufficient material resources that they can afford to get away with such a high-cost, high-maintenance strategy. Whereas OSS communities simply do not have the spending power to keep up with them; by the time they've constructed their own edifices, they can barely afford the existing upkeep, never mind the aggressive experimentation and evolution needed to keep it moving forward. Nor can they afford to throw away such a massive monolithic investment as that means starting over again from scratch. So they creak along year after year; okay, the lack of change may appeal to the strongly conservative nature of the majority of Linux nerds/geeks, but I would hope even they would eventually admit that such a strategy means they will forever be left trailing in the wake of the Big Two, with absolutely zero chance of ever jumping out ahead.
Let's call the above approach the 'Intel strategy'. Yes, x86 architecture sucks, but Intel are so incredibly wealthy that they are able to ameliorate its worst failings simply by throwing vast quantities of raw resources at it. What the Linux GUI folks need to adopt is an 'ARM strategy': don't even try to compete with Intel's approach to the problem; instead, develop a nimble, low-cost strategy that plays to your own unique strengths, redefining the problem itself where appropriate to better accommodate these goals, and do an end-run right around the competition.
I mean, consider just one problem: developing a word processor. Outsiders may not think it'd be such a hard problem (it's only one step up from a simple text editor, right?), but in fact just dealing with Middle East and Far East scripts alone is sufficient to put 20 years on even the strongest, smartest developer. LibreOffice copies Microsoft's approach: vast powerful monolith achieved through brute strength. Looks very impressive, but what a vast waste of an opportunity: completely inflexible structure, no feature reuse across other apps, requires a major commitment and loads of time and work to become a developer on it. Conventional commercial vendors can afford not to care about this - if anything, it's a valuable marketing tool, ensuring mass user lock-in. OSS folks though need to squeeze every single line of code, every single minute of developer and tester time, in order to extract every last possible ounce of value they can. Which is, of course, the sort of 'work smart, not hard' approach that Unix Philosophy is all about.
Now, you might think discussion of application architecture is irrelevant to the subject of DE development, but it's absolutely everything: DEs exist solely for the purpose of running applications, so the whole philosophy and construction of the DE inevitably dictate the philosophy and construction of all the applications that run on it.
Off the top of my head, the only Linux DE project whose philosophy is anywhere close is Etoile. Although the notion of a component-based desktop is not new. For instance, consider Apple's OpenDoc, which they abandoned at least partly because it did undermine the vendor-lock-in advantage of giant monolithic apps, ensuring that the main commercial app vendors (Adobe, MS) would never want to adopt it. With the technical issues ironed out I could see such an architecture being a terrific, natural fit for Linux DEs, precisely because it'd play so well to OSS strengths. Make it work, and all of a sudden Linux has a Unique Selling Point that the commercial DEs cannot directly compete on because it's against their interests to replicate it.
And that is what an OSS desktop should be.
That's all about where Linux should be heading though. Getting back to where it is today, especially with regard to Gnome 3?
IMO, wind up the entire Gnome project and close it down in orderly fashion. There are far too many poorly differentiated Linux DEs as it is - a period of consolidation in the immediate future would do them all a world of good, allowing more resources to be focused on fewer, more distinctive projects. If we're being brutally honest about it, all Linux really needs to cover all current bases are three production DEs: e.g. Unity as the everyman DE, KDE for the cool kids who love their endless bells and whistles, and Mint for the crusty old conservatives who like their desktops 1980s-style, thankyewverymuch.
All the folks left over by such a consolidation can then go spend some time getting individual GUI apps polished up a bit more (Dog knows most of them seriously need it). A few might even crack open their extremely dusty copies of the Art of Unix Programming, and think about how to apply all that forgotten wisdom to inventing a brand new OSS DE that follows Unix Philosophy through and through - one that doesn't simply continue the tradition of trailing way back in the wake of Windows and OSX/iOS, but instead completely outsmarts and performs an end-run right around them.
|- Score: 14|
|RE: Android ?|
|By moondevil on 2012-07-27 16:14:42|
> Could the Android GUI eventually find it's way onto a Linux distribution? |
Not with the typical Java hate Android gets.
|- Score: 2|
|RE: Android ?|
|By Dr.Mabuse on 2012-07-27 16:20:40|
> > Could the Android GUI eventually find it's way onto a Linux distribution? |
Not with the typical Java hate Android gets.
Yes, this is a fair point. :-(
With Mono operating under Gnome and the NDK being available for Android as well I wonder why there isn't a side project *somewhere* for this?
I guess I'll just stick with Xfce. *shrugs*
|- Score: 1|
|Gnome 3 is a disaster ...|
|By WakaJawaka on 2012-07-27 16:22:54|
... and I think that those responsible should be named and shamed for it. |
I don't know anyone who uses Gnome 3. But I do know quite a few people who continue to use Gnome 2 and a few others who have moved to different desktops after the first distributions with Gnome 3 came out. Most people I am talking to are seriously pissed off about Gnome 3 because the changes in the new desktop are not the result of careful research into what's wanted, what's needed, what's desirable in a GNU/Linux desktop but the dictates of a small bunch of self-appointed "designers" who don't give a flying duck about the users who have to put up with their creations. Unfortunately, in a project of this size, such talentless and arrogant "designers" have armies of enthusiastic young coders at their disposal. On top of all of that comes of course that people are given no choice in the matter. People usually don't like to be shoved around like that. Most people resent being told to take it or leave it. Only people devoid of critical faculties, conformists and bootlickers welcome any change that's forced upon them, no matter what.
|- Score: 3|